The first Asians to move to the western hemisphere were reportedly Chinese Filipinos settling in the area of Mexico. Filipino sailors settled in the United States in the mid 18th century around the area which would be Louisiana. About a hundred years later, in an effort to make up for the shortage of African slaves, Europeans brought over people in virtual slavery from China, India and the Philippines (Ancestors in the Americas). They brought these Asian slaves to the Caribbean Islands and various countries in South America.
The truly large influx of Asian immigrants into the United States did not take place until the mid 19th century—1848 to be exact, when gold was discovered in the Western United States. Asians, like untold others were lured into the country by the dreams of striking it rich in California. It was a large factor in the reason thousands of Chinese came to America. But there were also other reasons, primarily economic. The growing dominance of Great Britain over China after the Opium Wars, made the economy go downhill. Chinese left to find a better living. The Chinese were, by far, the largest group of Asian immigrants.
The first formal discrimination came with the Foreign Miner Tax which was ordered to be collected from each immigrant miner, but really was only collected from Chinese miners. If they refused to pay, they were harassed, attacked, and sometimes even killed. They got no help in court because at that time, Chinese could not testify against Whites in court, so that was no answer.
The other laborers were Irish, German, and of other such European and closely aligned descent. The Chinese and other Asian immigrant groups, much like the Black Americans, “looked” different and were subsequently treated differently. They did not “blend” into the mainstream American “look.” They were not considered “white” while most of the other immigrants were. The Asians were paid less, at just 60% of what...
References: Asian Americans have increasingly been the target of hate crimes and racism (Asian Nation).
Ancestors in the Americas
http://www.pbs.org/ancestorsintheamericas/ retrieved 6/23/14
Asian Nation, Asian American History, Demographics and Issues
http://www.asian-nation.org/ retrieved 6/23/14
Becoming American—the Chinese Experience, PBS
http://www.pbs.org/becomingamerican/programcredits.html retrieved 6/23/14
Hasidism, the Jewish Virtual Library
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